Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Taper? What Taper?

Here, verbatim, are Greg's instructions for today's run: "90-105' Medium Long Run w/ Pace Change: after 10-20', begin alternating miles of 6:15 and 5:40, alternate 4-6 times."

This is the last thing I wanted to do this morning. It took me half an hour longer to get out of the house this morning, mostly due to my ability to find little things to do in order to put off hitting the road. Once warmed up, I started cranking out the paced miles when I hit the Schuylkill Trail. I nailed that mile (approximate) in 6:23 (running by Biz); and ran the first 3 MLK miles in 5:36; 6:06; 5:42. This satisfied the minimum, I then proceeded to run the first 3/4's of the final MLK mile in 4:20 and slowed it down to finish that mile in 6:01 and then ran marathon pace, as best I could and as best I could tell, up the hill to the northwest of Falls Bridge to the intersection of Conshohocken Ave and Cranston Ave in 7:23. I don't know how far the last stretch is, though I'm sure it is well over one mile, and have set this as a baseline for future efforts. Most of this stretch is a serious hill, and trying to keep marathon pace (I have no idea how well I did at this) left me bogarting most of the oxygen in the vicinity.

If that last paragraph was too geeky, my apologies but I wanted to keep a note of that for future reference. It was a weird run, as the 6:15 pace was just a bit slower than MP, and the 5:40 pace was just quicker than my tempo pace. So I felt off balance the whole time, and still had to hump it on the 6:15 legs when I had to fight just slipping into recovery mode. The result, for the slower pace was that I ran it faster just because MP is what feels familiar to me.

Another nice morning to run. From Chamounix I also ran left over the Belmont Plateau instead of right and directly on to Belmont, as my route has been going. There is no difference distance wise, but Belmont Plateau has much better surface, less traffic, allows for an easier crossing of Montgomery Ave (to get onto Belmont Ave) and I get the vista of Center City from the top of the plateau. Definite improvement on the course.

I googled up a picture of the view which I'll add here (courtesy of phila.html).

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Went out this morning to run an Art Museum loop, up to 54th St. for 8 miles. Slow, as I had just done my previous run 8 hours earlier. 68:33.

After this run I feel like I'm back home, in a normal routine again.

Its a beautiful Spring day, conditions much like Monday was down in Katy - sunny and warm. The light was strong at 6am and the first trees are starting to bud and flower. Winter finally seems over.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Empathy for Orpheus

Got home this afternoon and had time to get some stuff together before it was off to go teach at 5. Got out at 8 and headed to the ARC for a hamster wheel workout.

I didn't bring my iPod so I had to settle for a zen-style workout in a style described on a certain running blog last week. I focused on a set of six cinder blocks in the wall and tried to block out everything save the sound of one hand clapping. Any thoughts drifting into my head were clouds blocking the sun which I would then move along by just blowing them away. There were some sunny patches, but there were some seriously overcast spells as well. The hardest part is refraining from looking at the time and mileage on the machine. The easy way would be to just drape a towel over the machine, but I tested myself to see how long I could avert my gaze. I had 4 looks in 7.5 miles, and then just indulged myself for the last mile watching the odometer turn every hundredth of a mile.

I thought about poor Orpheus who went to get his love Euridyce out of Hades. He was instructed to walk back up to Earth from the Underworld and Euridyce would follow, but if he turned around to check on her he would lose her. Needless to say he looked. After tonight I could see why; I would have lost her four times today.

8 1/2 in 60.24.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Hair o' the Dog

Ran, no, jogged the jogging loop at Peckham City Park one last time. Slowly, with legs recovering from the beating they took over the weekend. Looked to do 12 of the .76 mile long loops. In the beginning my stride resembled that of one of the ducks foraging around the pond. After 10 loops a different kind of weariness set into my legs that led me call it a morning. Besides, tapering has to be good for something.

I walked one lap w/ C to cool down. Total of 7.5 miles (running), didn't bother to time it lest I be tempted to do something stupid like play the negative split game.

I'm leaving Katy this morning, heading back up to Dallas with my in-laws and should blow back into Philly tomorrow. CNN says there's a flood watch in Philly; its beautifully sunny in the 60's over here. A taste of how the weather will soon be in Phila. Its been a fun stay here.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

20 Miler #4

Happy Easter!

Not to put any pressure on myself, but today's workout was the biggest workout of this training cycle. Marching orders were to do up to 18 miles, with the last 8-10 at marathon pace. If I could hang on in this one, then I could legitimately feel that I have a shot at a 2:40 in Boston. If not, my confidence would take another hit and I'd waffle more on my Boston goals.

Did the workout today in the City park doing multiple loops around the .76 mile jogging path around the pond. Ran the 1 3/4 miles out there and then 10 loops, negative splitting each of these loops from 6:31 to 4:44 and then aimed to do each of the final 12 laps - 9 miles total - in 4:30 (6:00 pace, a bit under 2:40 marathon pace). Splits were uneven, as goal pace was one I had to keep pushing and whenever I tried to relax a bit the lap time would be off by a few seconds. Fatigue really set in at the end - I noticed that in the last 100 or so meters I could not mentally sustain a kick, I'd speed up and then my mind would drift and I'd have to push again and I'd let down again. . . about 3 or 4 times. Splits were 4:29; 4:34; 4:27; 4:35; 4:28; 4:35; 4:30; 4:31; 4:30; 4:31; 4:37; 4:31 for a total of 54:18 or 6:02 pace. A case of overshooting and still landing in the overall target zone. I'll take that and be satisfied with it. Cooled down with 1 3/4 miles home to make it 20 miles in 2:23:26.

A "cold front" must have moved in last night, as it was breezy and in 50's the morning - perfect to run. I had the park all to myself this morning except for an occasional walker and a group of guys in bright orange "County Jail" jumpsuits who were cleaning up the area. Its nice to have a path like that with a restroom and water fountain readily available every 3/4's of a mile.

Total this week is 68, a little short due to travel and that missed workout. But this workout was a climax, and I'm glad, no relieved that I nailed it. And now my taper starts, although the plan Greg has for me next week still looks like high mileage. Now things start winding down and Boston will be here soon! Oh yeah, I checked a few days ago and saw my number will be 1275. Boston race numbers create a type of pecking order, with the lower the better and this one is good enough to strut around with. . . should I choose to do so.

Resurrection Run - LBRR

Greetings from Clear Lake TX, site of installment #3 of C's "5k a month in 05" initiative. Except for the first one, which we all ran on New Years Day, the others have been on the last weekend of their respective months. This being Easter weekend, the pickings were slim, but this being the buckle of the Bible Belt, there was the Christian themed "Resurrection Run" sponsored by a Lutheran Church, complete with free packages of Peeps with the church's Easter service schedule on the label. There was also prize money offered for the top overall and masters finishers, and was spitting distance from NASA, which we planned to visit after the run.

So C and I got our two grumpy, groggy kids into the car at 6:15 to drive clear to the other side of the metro Houston area and get ready to race by 8:00. This had all the trappings of your typical neighborhood 5k, with about 400 folks participating on a flat course that wound through the subdivisions surrounding the church. I had fun trying to guess who the studs were, and which of them looked over 40. For once before a race I felt relaxed, as I had so many excuses why I would not run well this morning that I actually came to believe them. One of them is a little known product from Shiner, TX which I always enjoy when I'm down here, perhaps a bit too much last night. So, inspired by yesterday's workout, I resolved to take the first mile easy and see if I could simultaneously negative split and reel folks in as the race progressed.

True to my resolution I went out easy and got in with two 40+ looking guys, with 3 other younger looking folks ahead of us. Mile 1 passes in 5:36, just where I want to be. Now I just need to pick things up. And I thought I did this in mile 2, putting about 50 feet between me and the two guys in my pack, but pass the marker with a split of 5:43. The #3 guy is a ways ahead of me, but I'm careful to keep my lead over #5. With this in mind, I run mile 3 in 5:37 and finish fourth in an uninspired 17:35.

In what now becomes a ritual, I cool down by running the course backwards until I run into T at about mile 2. He's walking, and is dripping with sweat. The humidity is intense already at 8:25 a.m. in March down here, and he alternates between running and walking the last mile before sprinting for the last .1 to pass about 5 people to finish in 40:27. C & M come sauntering in about ten minutes later, and race against each other the last 50 yards or so to finish in a dead heat. They then recounted how they amused themselves by checking out flyers from several houses that were for sale along the way and plotting how we could all move into one that was going for $2 million.

By the time the family was in the results were posted and the number 2 guy was over 40, so I missed my payday. All goes to show that how well you do depends on who shows up. This guy must have been twins with KF and separated at birth, as they'd be about the same age and this guy was in full Mexican regalia. He ran about a 16:30, and there was no way I could have pulled out that kind of a time this morning. So I had to feel good about winning my age group, which got me a pair of newfangled cushioned socks.

I forgot how people in Texas are a lot less inhibited about coming up and just talking to you. Several folks after the race did this, including one guy who said he was in his 80's, that this was his God knows how manyeth race, and although he had to run it pretty slow on account of his pacemaker he just couldn't stop racing. At this point I started to feel very uncomfortable listening to him and excused myself, which I realized later on was likely out of the fear that that could one day be me.

The 5k was but a beginning of a marathon day that included breakfast at Denny's, all day at NASA and then the evening in Kemah, a bayside town nearby known for its entertainment district and not getting back to Katy until 9pm.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Negative Splits

Made it to Katy yesterday, sitting on the exurban fringe of Houston. Its good to see C's family again and have more people per square foot crammed into a house than is recommended for maintaining sanity.

I had running routes all mapped out with Keyhole, but what Keyhole can't tell you is that there are no shoulders on any of the roads here. Aside from being in one of the more pedestrian-unfriendly states, Katy is also a big rice growing area, so many of the roads are narrow and elevated from the adjacent fields. I can't imagine drunk drivers last long here, as a small swerve would land your car in a serious ditch.

So, maintaining my mantra of flexibility, C., V. (one of the cuzzins) and myself went to the City park, which has a jogging path going around a fishing pond that is stated to be .76 miles. On the first lap around I started devising a game centered on how many laps I could keep up a negative split - i.e., how long can I run each successive lap faster than the last. This turned out to be a good workout to add to the repertoire.

The rules I established were that I was to run 12 laps, so for each of the 11 laps (last lap was a cooldown) I had to run faster than the last. If I ran a lap slower than the last I was "eliminated" and if I ran a lap under 4:51 (6:30 pace) I was "eliminated." This maximum speed is necessary to avoid running 5k race pace, as this is supposed to be an "easy" workout. Finally, the only time I could look at my watch was when I completed a lap. Thus the objective becomes to negative split, but by as little as possible.

Keeping in mind that, for a 3/4 mile loop, 6:00 is an 8 minute pace and 5:15 is a 7 minute pace, my splits were: 6:32; 5:52; 5:46; 5:40; 5:25; 5:16; 5:09; 4:59; 4:52; 4:51; 4:47; 5:59. So, by my rules I made it through 10 of 11 loops before getting "eliminated". Looking back, I did my first four well and then should have upped the pace a little less drastically afterwards. But that is the hard part, I thought I was running each of those middle loops at about the same pace as the last. And most importantly, it kept my mind occupied and happy.

9 miles in 65:13. And we all went out for donuts afterwards.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Yasso 800's

Yesterday I said we’d be in Katy TX today. Almost made it. Thanks to another episode of bungling from the folks at USAir, T and I are at my in-laws in Arlington TX this morning. Seems like they messed up T & my tickets (M & C’s were okay), and had the wrong email address so each time they notified us it bounced back. They had our phone number, but nobody ever thought to call. So, we are at the airport without valid tix, and the best they could do was either send us to Houston on Friday or to Dallas last night. We chose the latter, and we’ll drive down to Katy with my in-laws shortly. Gotta be flexible.

That means I did my track workout this morning (the one that was postponed from Tuesday) on the Hutchinson Junior High track just down the street. My in-laws live in East Arlington, which has become the low-rent part of Arlington. A “bad” neighborhood in Arlington is still better, socioeconomically speaking, than the majority of Philadelphia neighborhoods, but the decay was evident on the track, which was “old school” (literally) gravel – rutted with little weeds poking through in the outside lanes and glittering in parts with pieces of broken glass. Even the football field inside the oval (football fields in Texas are treated like shrines) was riddled with crab grass and fire ant mounds. But the track was still (presumably) 400 meters around, and I had some work to do.

The workout of the day was a set of 8 to 10 “Yasso 800s,” with a 400 meter recovery lap. I’ve never done these Yasso 800s before as I’ve considered them a bit gimmicky, but the premise is that you take your predicted marathon time, in hours and minutes, and transpose them to your target time for the 800m reps, in minutes and seconds. Thus I’m shooting for a 2:40 time in Boston, so I targeted my 800’s at 2:40. This idea was developed by a Runner’s World guy, Bart Yasso, and popularized by Hal Higdon, who says they are a good predictor of marathon performance.

I nailed the first four in 2:39, 2:36, 2:41, and 2:39. Number 5 was in 2:40 but on the recovery I knew that there were more many reps left than I had energy. I focused on one rep at a time to see if I could survive to 8, but #6 was in 2:42 and then halfway through #7 I started feeling nauseous, my mouth got really dry and around the back turn you could stick a fork in me, I was done. Reps 7-9 in 2:48, 2:50; and 2:52; and I rallied a little to bring the last rep back down to 2:46. With the warmup and cooldown the workout totaled 12 miles, with the total time as 90:06. Resting pulse was 48, I meant to get a max pulse but forgot.

Track workouts gone bad always leave me with an intense sense of failure. Why couldn’t I push myself any faster? Seems like it all it would have required was a simple act of will. If these damn Yasso’s hold out, that won’t bode well for me in Boston, etc. etc. The better self talk says to look at these like weightlifting reps, that if I nailed all of these then the workout was too easy. Shoot a little beyond my capability, like I did today, to get the full benefit of the workout. Whatever is right approach, the key is just to move on. My legs felt nicely weary on the cooldown, as they feel on a long hike, a feeling made even cozier by the absence of any pains that I could worry about. By way of a good omen, upon running my cooldown laps I noticed I was watched by a pair of falcons who had a big messy nest way up in one of the skylights.

And now my legs should should get nice and tight on the drive down to Katy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Day Off?

Third Floor loop, to the window and back to bed. 50 ft. in maybe 10 minutes.

It is pouring rain, haven't checked the temps but the heat has kicked on. And there I stand, looking outside and agonizing over the existential question of the moment: to run or not to run.

That that is even the question on a morning like this scares me. Even a month ago I would have heard the cozy pitter patter and turned over in my bed, knowing I had a good excuse for sleeping in. But something has changed and, even after returning to bed I lay there fitfully, wondering if I made the right decision or whether I should have run.

What it comes down to is how badly do I want to go outside vs. convincing myself that there is a point to go. Today is an easy day, there really isn't any need to get the mileage in, and the run will be cold, wet, nasty and devoid of any tangible benefit save logging miles and telling myself that I went out this morning.

But both of those latter points weigh heavily on my mind. My weekly mileage is now unlikely to get into the 70s, let alone the 80s, meaning that it will be a disappointing week. And behind that, and looming larger, is an identity question. Do I have the drive to go out and run on a morning like this? Will I do whatever it takes? by any means necessary?

Dick Beardsley, when he was injured in his native Minnesota, took to shoveling snow. Once he shoveled the snow he reshoveled it. Then he did intervals, seeing how fast he could shovel snow for 3 minute periods, etc. etc. for several hours at a time. Does that show the drive it takes to succeed at the sport, or is that just nuts?

The Hamletian question then became that question: what does it say about me if I do go out there? And ultimately I didn't like what it would have said. And in some ways I felt more pain and discomfort lying in bed than I would have running whatever soggy loop I would have done out there. I'll have to settle for that, a tortured mental workout likely to leave me sore all day.

Off to Katy this afternoon to spend a long Easter weekend with "the cousins." I may or may not get a chance to write when I'm there.

Daylight katy come on
Daylight katy come on
If you can’t follow me down
Daylight katy go home
~ Gordon Lightfoot

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Intervalis Interruptus

Two workouts today.

The morning workout on 2-a-days are now becoming reconnaissance runs. Went off Mantua-way again and tooled around up to about Westminster and 60th. 5 mi. in 38:33. Ran through the 60th Street business district, which I didn't know existed. Even at 7:15 the area was hopping with folks going to work and school, and the greasy smells of breakfast from a crowded diner gave me a little boost.

Track intervals was on tap for the afternoon run. Due to various meetings I didn't get out until 2:30. Ran 800's, 1st in 2:36 and was booking around the backstretch when some bullheaded guy in a track suit gets in my way and starts saying something. I yell for him to get out of my way and he does at the last second before a collision. I still make the interval in 2:38. On my recovery lap he tells me that the track team is practicing and I need to leave. I was, to put it mildly, pissed and let him know it, but to no avail. With adrenaline still pumping, I decided to morph this track workout into Thursday's 8 mile fartlek workout. I did this by running a variation of the Art Museum loop with an extension to Lloyd Hall for use of the facilities. Total time 65:36 but that was with stops.

In retrospect, it pays to be flexible. I'll do the full track workout on Thursday in Katy, TX, where I will be for the holiday. Thanks to Keyhole online mapping software, which I bought over the weekend, I already located a track there. Had I continued the track workout today, I would probably have crashed in the later reps, as against my better judgment I ate an Italian Hoagie (with everything on it) for lunch. Bad idea. At first it put the "fart" back into fartlek, and then it necessitated my little Lloyd Hall detour, and it gave me stomach cramps to the point of nausea on the last half mile of my run. As IC once said in another context, I now know why you will not find cold cuts on the USATF 's list of banned performance enhancers. At least I don't have to worry about getting subpeonaed.

The first sunny warm Spring day. Lots of folks out in and around Penn campus, including BF and Mr M (T's gym teacher), neither of whom are likely to read this blog, and SW, who might.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Schooled on the Morning Run

Sweetbriar loop w/ E, 8 in 64:32. The time/distance is misleading, because the pace was easily faster than 8 minutes.

I get the feeling that this was the best part of the day. Now its cloudier, windier, and it doesn't seem any warmer than it was.

This loop now runs past a major new construction project that has started in a corner of Fairmount Park that sits right on Girard and Parkside. They have already felled numerous large trees and fenced off a small shortcut I use to cut from Lansdowne Dr. to Girard Ave. The only project I could think of that might be built there is the much touted new high school, built in conjunction with Microsoft, that is being dubbed the "school of the future." A quick web search confirmed that this is in fact what is happening, although the groundbreaking has been kept consipicuously silent.

The article I linked to also describes how naming rights for everything down to the urinals is for sale, so that the school might actually be called "Microsoft High". What's good enough for sports stadiums is apparently good enough for "public" education. I remember last fall this topic came up when a group of us were on a long run before the Phila marathon, and we were speculating on the possibilities of Hustler Magazine buying some naming rights. I'll leave the suggestions we came up with to your imagination.

I want to dwell on this a bit further, as its now in my head and I don't have much else to write about today. I find the apparent low key nature of this groundbreaking to be suspect, as is the information that was provided about the site. The site, which I now see was described as the confluence of Parkside, Girard and 34th St (which don't all intersect), was as I remember more often described as an out of the way corner of Fairmount Park. Now that I know the site I can say that is out and out shit. They are using park land for other purposes. While the merits of the competing land uses can be debated, it should have been framed as such.

There was an article that circulated on the W. Philly community list serve a few weeks back that said that, in soliciting all this private support for public school ed, that Phila was on the cutting edge. But the first thing to go would be public input as to the nature of the education, as those decisions would all be made in the back rooms. It certainly looks like that is true about the construction decisions.

Maybe it's because a corner of land that was a familiar part of my regular routine has now been abruptly and fundamentally altered, but this beginning feels rather ominous. I'm also thinking that this will be the high school that T. will go to if he continues in public school. But that fortunately is a few years off.

In the meantime, since nobody asked my opinions on the place I hope that some wise educator/corporate stooge had the foresight to include a track in the site design.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

20 miler #3

22 miles to be (roughly) exact. I have now obtained the minimum number of long run s required for marathon training. So can I taper now?!

Ran part of the way w/ DB, first time I've run w/ her. She got me warmed up to a 7 minute pace that I held for most of the run. Time was 2:41:52.

Greg's marching orders were to make the course hilly, which is hard to do in central Philly thanks to the best efforts of 19th century civil engineers to literally flatten the hills and use the resulting fill to level out the valleys. But I charted a course that got me just into South Philly, across Center City to the Art Museum, up Lemon Hill, across Girard Bridge, up Lansdowne Dr. hill, down Black Dr. Hill, onto MLK past Falls River Bridge up the hills that lead back to Fairmount Park, down Ford Rd- Chamounix - Belmont Plateau Rd (?) - Belmont, past Memorial Hall and back down Lansdowne Dr. hill, up to Girard, back across the bridge, down to Kelly Dr., up Kelly to the Wissahickon trail, 1 mile into Forbidden Trail (up and down) and back, and then up the prolonged acclivity to Germantown and St. Vincent's church. Whew!

The combination pace and hills left my legs feeling beat up but recovery time was quick. The rain alternated between drizzle and steady for the whole run, but it wasn't bad (coming from someone who is generally rain averse). Just about every marathon cycle has included one long run in the rain, I guess this was it.

The hardest part actually came after the run, when I met the family at St. Vincent's. This being Palm Sunday, there was a procession around the immediate neighborhood of the church, in the rain, and that is when I realized how cold, wet and weary I was. After the procession I got my gym bag out of the car and ducked into the restroom to change, but didn't bring any food or drink. So when it came time for communion I was wondering if they would catch me (or if its a sin) to take multiple trips up the communion line and it was all I can do to just take a sip of the wine. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts on the way home. Not quite Greg's "RUNRR" regimen.

70 miles for the week. Not bad considering this included recovery from Cesar Rodney.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Saturday 11

After trying out new routes the last couple of days, I ran my tried and true Strawberry Mansion Bridge loop this morning. I wanted to take it a bit faster than I had been going of late, and when I run on unfamiliar routes its harder to do that.

Ran the 11 mile loop in 76:26. This included the 3 MLK miles at a steady 6:45 pace and taking no prisoners up the Ford Road hill. Weather was in the 40s and sunny. Didn't hook up with anybody because I had to be back at the house by 8:30 to get T ready for little league practice. Another sure sign of spring.

Tomorrow I'm going for another 20 miler. Until then.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Gates - Philly Style

I had E take me on one of her West Philly routes this morning. All the way down Woodland to Cobbs Creek up to Mount Moriah cemetary, a loop around the inside, and up Cobbs Creek a bit farther to Warrington, which brought us home. Conservatively, 7 miles in 61:52.

Another trip through Wonderland. E described Woodland, very aptly, as having the feel of a main street without any people. There are stretches, like around 58th St., where there once are the remnants of a local business district, and running through it reminded me of going through Pilsen during the Chicago Marathon but with the life sucked out of it. Sort of a Dawn of the Dead feel to it.

E then pointed out (I'm getting all my ideas from her today) that the multitude of shopping bags hanging in the trees along the banks of the Cobbs Creek gave it Christoffian feel, as if he had used this area as a dress rehearsal for the Gates. Along with the visual effect of the white bags hanging off of all the bare limbs and bushes, there was also an accompanying fluttering noise when the wind hit it right.

Speaking of death, Mount Moriah is a literal city of the dead, neatly segregated with a potter's field in one section; large affluent monuments on the areas high ground, and an area full of military dead, some who are very decorated. The recently deceased John Whitehead, of McFadden and Whitehead (semi) fame, is also buried there ("Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now", etc.). And obviously some haven't been buried very well, as there are ghost sitings here too. And on top of all that, the circular path through the cemetary looks like it would do well for hill workouts.

The first part of Warrington has a steady, stepped incline that gives it a Newtonian (in the sense of the Boston suburb, not the physicist) feel, and then its a sprint up and down the steps that take you over the Septa Regional Rail lines and we're back in the neighborhood.

One other running related tidbit; watching a first season CSI episode with my daughter and one of the victims was a runner who was attacked and killed by a dog and subsequently had his organs surgically removed. Grissom's (sp?) comment: "He picked the wrong time to be out running by himself in that place." So, fellow runners, be careful of homicidal dogs with psychopathic owners or else you too may be a blamed victim.


Thursday, March 17, 2005


Double Thursday. 4.5ish improvised loop through Mill Creek and West Philly this morning, and then a slow 8-mile Sweetbriar loop (68:19) at noon w/ JH and R, another USP XC runner. Also did crosstraining of sorts as I rode my bike to Center City this afternoon to get back and forth to a meeting.

What made my day running-wise, however, was reading an interview on on Veena Reddy conducted by Ian Chillag, a friend of mine (their names are both on the interview, so I'm foregoing my usual practice of anonymity). Most of the interview is the usual stuff of interest only to running geeks like myself, but there is one thing Veena said that really excited me, especially after my run this morning:

As runners we discover the most beautiful things in the strangest places. We're not afraid to go into neighborhoods with our running shoes on, which architects are sometimes afraid to go into. So I think I have a vantage point that will always influence my design, and my love of architecture will always have me seeking new routes and new paths. A building I'm interested in will change the path of my run.

This so expressed my mood on this morning's run. I left in full daylight and took off toward the northwest to explore the Mill Creek area, something I had resolved to do more of in previous entries. Where Veena explores as an architect, I do so as a sociologist, and so while my perspective is a bit different the vantage point is the same. Running, unlike a car, puts you into the landscape, and at a speed where you can take it in and, if necessary, stop or detour or improvise. There are stretches where my running is like time lapse photography, getting a series of shots day after day and watching the change. Other times like this morning I go off and stumble into a new world.

This morning it was a neighborhood where the decay has progressed to the point where more and more the dilapidated housing is turning into vacant lots. This can be described ecologically in terms of death and regeneration, but there is a naivete to that, especially with the knowledge that this area is a target of the city's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. But what is exhilerating are the surprises that constantly pop up: the block long wall with a series of graffiti murals, a shiny new hotel standing like an oasis amongst run down rowhouses, and the yard overflowing with decorative junk. People said hi, ask how far I'd run, and ask me for the time without any regard that I'm in the middle of a workout. And for some reason I stopped, if only to look at my watch and say "7:05."

And I can go on and on. Thanks Veena for giving me a starting point to do so. And then I think this idea can be made into something bigger. Taking running up an epistemological level. I'll have to think about that one. . . while I run.

By way of postscript, I added another picture, of me crossing the finish line, yesterday to my Cesar Rodney entry of a few days ago that I downloaded off of the race website (URL is in the caption). A good shot, I look like a runner.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Old Man Walking

The topic of conversation of a long run about 6 weeks back was about having "old man's walk" as a side effect of heavy training. If you've had it, I don't need to explain, but for the rest of you this is when leg muscles are really tight upon waking up in the morning and upon standing up from a long period of sitting. The walk is slow and stiff, and usually warms up after about 5 minutes to where you can't feel it. Others commonly ask if you are feeling okay, and then smirk when told its from running. Yeah, a real healthy sport, they think. I'm tempted to tell them its from a shrapnel wound I got in Desert Storm.

Anyway, on that run six weeks ago, I commented that to my surprise and given the mileage I'd been logging, I had not been experiencing OMW. I can now no longer say that. This morning the legs were extremely stiff.

Another good thing about having a coach is that, along with pushing me to do hard workouts, he also sets limits on easier workouts. Today's workout was a "recovery run" of 45-60 minutes. This was right on target, for as OMW cleared up the tightness in my right calf and the more generally beat up condition of my legs became more pronounced. So EM and I ran the Art Museum loop this morning, pondering among other things whether, given the "nutritional enhancements" in snack food, it was possible to satisfy all your nutritional needs on a diet exclusively comprised of Tastycake products. Run was conversational and done in 56 minutes (actually 56:14). I had to tell myself several times to keep it at 6.5 and not do the 8-mile 54th St. version.

Had the workout not been capped at 60 minutes, I know I would have went 8.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The First Run of the Rest of My Life

I started today on the training schedule that Greg McMillan, who is now my coach, sent me. One of my favorite things about being coached is that you have to think that much less. You just follow the instructions on what workout to do as they are laid out for you. In fact, the more you think the more in trouble you get yourself into.

So already Greg has managed to do what I couldn't make myself do all year, and that is get me out to the track. 3 x 3000 meters starting at 10:51 and going down to 10:32, with 600m recovery. Another advantage to having a coach is you have to answer to someone else. The only thing I hate more than a track workout is the morning before a noon track workout when the upcoming workout is weighing on my mind. But I got out, on this sunny but blustery day, and nailed the reps in 10:40, 10:31 & 10:26. Nailed those suckers! First two were a piece of cake and I really pushed the last one so that when I finished it I felt about the same as I did coming up that last Cesar Rodney hill.

This workout was huge for me mentally as with it I feel like Cesar Rodney's behind me and I'm back on track for Boston. Another 3 weeks of training hard, and now I have the roadmap to do it.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Cesar Rodney Half Marathon

I posted this "long boring race report" (lbrr) on the Philly Runners message board along with a slew of other reports. PR had a really good turnout for the race, making it into a real event.


Before I start this lbrr, I must echo the previous accolades for the most excellent pre-race dinner and the remarkable feat of having 21 persons and 2 spectators from Philly Runners (PR) invade Wilmington. And to top it all off, I got to see Mony again.

For those of you who don’t know it, Cesar Rodney has a nasty little course highlighted by a prolonged acclivity from mile 5 to mile 7 ½ which then becomes a screaming downhill from mile 10 to mile 12 ½, with the course finishing with a brutal quarter mile uphill to the finish. Against my better judgment, not to mention my dignity, I somehow ended up racing on a team called The Evil Killer Bunnies of Death (TEKBOD).

I think I got hare and bunny mixed up. I took off on the downhill like an oil slick fire and was stupid enough to think, “Oh good, I got some time in the bank” when I hit mile 1 in 5:11. I was in the chase pack of 5 with the eventual winner already a good bit ahead of us. Over the second mile I was smart enough to let this pack go ahead and looking behind me as we circled around the stadium I didn’t see anyone for a ways. I was in sixth place, same as last year and I thought we were spaced out far enough to where this was how it would end. If I only knew.

Mile 2 in 5:37 and I still had the fifth place guy in my sights. This was the pace I wanted to keep but it wasn’t to be. Mile 3 in 5:44, wave to Kevin and Cindy (spectating) and then its mile 4 in 5:57 and pick it up a little in mile 5 to 5:44 to cross the mat in 28:16. Time slipping, running alone, with the dreaded hill upon me, things didn’t bode well. Sure enough, miles 6 & 7 went by in 6:07 and 6:11, although I had the illusion of running faster as I reeled in number 5. As things flattened out miles 8 and 9 passed in 5:56 and 6:00 and I just didn’t have it to push it any faster. Mile 9 took me around the MBNA building and when I looped back to run against the oncoming people I didn’t see Ian. But I still wasn’t worried.

The next two miles doubled back on the other racers and the PRs along with a bunch of others became a great cheering contingent. But even with this support I only managed to hold steady at 5:55 and 5:54. This last split was particularly disconcerting, as this was where I had gloriously screamed downhill in previous years running this race. I wasn’t going and my mind wasn’t pushing me. Mile 12 in 5:43, I was finally picking up some steam. My inner hare told me to relax, I’d still have fifth place locked up and I started to listen. I listened up to the point I snuck a glance behind me and saw the glint of aviator glasses gaining on me. Then the clapping of bystanders didn’t stop as I passed. Then the ominous sound of breathing, and then the footsteps. There was Ian. I gave him a friendly greeting that he must have misunderstood as an expletive. When we passed under a bridge I cocked an elbow and got ready to throw it but, alas, I’m not a very good evil killer bunny and he passed by. We rounded the hairpin turn into the final uphill to the finish and I knew that with all those Lemon Hills under his belt Ian was the better bunny that morning. I take consolation in leaving everything I had on that final quarter mile hill, and though Ian passed me I held off the next guy who was breathing down my neck. Final 1.1 in 6:26 and crossed the finish line in sixth place (first master) in 1:16:31.

I felt I was in shape to do better, but my self-pity melted away quickly standing by the sidelines with Cindy and Kevin G. watching PR after PR land big PR’s. I’m sure I’m missing several but I remember Russ sneaking in (chip time) in just under 1:30, Tim coming in just behind him to a huge PR, Jim, Biz & Steve D all PR’d in double digits and I know I’m missing several more. TEKBOD won the team competition, the PR women’s team won as well, and the second PR men’s team won second as well. All in all a very successful day for Philly Runners.

I need to remember it’s a long bloody race, don’t be in a hurry. If Cesar Rodney teaches me that, then losing to Ian will have been worth it. He ran the race I like to run, just bide my time and slowly make a move as the finish approaches. And now Boston becomes much more interesting. Care to suggest a wager, Ian? Loser hydrates with a nice tall glass of Charles River water, perhaps?



A shot of me (with proof of time) taken from the race website.


The Evil Killer Bunnies of Death


The whole Philly Runner crowd

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Junk Miles

I ran this morning but can't really call them training miles. Cruised down to the Art Museum and met up with the 9:30 crowd, they took off and then me and RW went over to Lloyd Hall for the kickoff of Students Run Philly Style, a mentoring program that works with "at risk" high school and middle school kids to prepare for the Philly Marathon. The training program officially started today with a mile run preceded by alot of speakers and such.

I may have said in an earlier blog that I got involved with this because if I'm gonna work with kids obviously this is the forum for me to do it. But it struck me today, and at the risk of sounding elitist, that this really isn't running. Its getting kids out to train so they could basically last, either running or walking, a marathon. The emphasis then becomes all the self-esteem and values and all that stuff that gets draped around doing a marathon. My knee jerk reaction is to get leery about that kind of stuff, and now that its around something I take very seriously for its own sake. So most of the leaders have not run themselves, and everybody's supposed to finish the marathon come November. I'll stick with it, I have to plan the time I have to give around my work commitments, which constricts my involvement somewhat in terms of how much I can give to this program. These thoughts sound scattered because they are, I'm still sorting them out. It challenges how I approach running, but in the meantime I'll stay committed to helping out as I can. As I often say, we'll see what happens.

In the meantime, the miles were not really training miles, they got me back and forth and two of them were part of the kickoff for the SRPS. This let me take it easy today, the day before Cesar Rodney, but the miles were solely for the log book. I'm cutting this short as we're prepping to go to Marra's for dinner with alot of Philly Runners who are racing tomorrow. Over 20 are signed up for CR. Should be great. I'll write about it tomorrow and hopefully have some pics.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Easy Friday

It's sad when 6.5 miles gets to be an "easy" day, but I really felt like I was giving myself a break by only running the Art Museum loop. Legs felt good although there is something going on in my right calf. I write this because part of this blog is to keep a record of how I'm feeling from day to day, but I also feel like a chronic complainer, as it seems every other blog entry I'm writing something about some ache and pain. For awhile it was my knee and now it seems to be my calf. The former is more or less gone and the latter is currently low grade, but I'm worried about what it will do when I push it. I'll find out on Sunday when I run Cesar Rodney. But the bigger picture is that I think that this is the lot of running the kind of mileage that I've been doing, that there is always some ache or pain flaring up that needs to be monitored and worried about. That's what I get for calling 6.5 an easy day.

Ran w/ E, went at a decent but conversational clip and finished in 55.27. Weather was warmer and I'm again hoping that I can put my tights (currently in the wash) away for the season.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Ten Degrees Warmer

Ten degrees warmer this morning, the difference between skating the course and running, between tights and shorts. Never even considered incorporating any speed into this run, as it is too close to Cesar Rodney this Sunday. I did, however, want to drop it down a bit lower than I did, but didn't have what it takes to push it physically. That's ok. Best I could tell I was doing miles in the 7:30/7:45 range. Strawberry Mansion Bridge loop (w/ an extra 1/2 mile out & back on MLK), 12 in 95:14.

What struck me about this morning's run was how singularly uneventful it was. If I weren't writing this blog (and maybe despite writing it) I would have marked 12 miles in my training log and turned back to it a few weeks later and the details of the run would have vanished into the depths of the memory hole. Then the counter question is whether or not it is really necessary to preserve the memory of this run? And then finally a third voice says that when all is said and done, when (as folks say) the arthritis has crippled my knees, these thoughtless runs full of nothing will be the ones I miss the most.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hill on Ice

For those of you out there in search of something more challenging than the regular hill workout, may I suggest running up hills on an icy surface. If that appeals to you, hurry out to the Lansdowne Drive hill before it all melts.

Running uphill on ice. Makes a great metaphor. Unfortunately it makes for a lousy run. I woke up to my daughters alarm clock, set for 6:00, and I knew E was likely waiting for me at that very moment but there wasn't a thing I could do. E, I'm sorry if you waited in this cold. I got out of the house at 6:30 and shouldn't have bothered. Icy patches from yesterdays rain/snow and this mornings temps in the teens made it impossible to focus on anything other than planning your next step and avoiding traffic. Sweetbriar Loop, 8 in 67:16.

Two people close to me told me they've been running lately. One of them is my Mom, whose regular runs around Rockland Lake got me started with running back when I was a kid. She's been running around the neighborhood again and I was very happy to hear that. I know, however, that she had the sense to stay inside this morning. The other is a longtime friend, J, out in Arizona who recently ran a 5k, the first 5k he's run, he says, since the two of us ran one in San Antonio (through King William and Hemisfair Park if I remember) some 15 or so years ago. Made my day reading the race report he sent me.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Back on the Chain Gang

Woke up at 5:15, heard the rain, and promptly slept for another 2.5 hours.

My penance was another 12 mile bout with the treadmill. Despite my resolution yesterday to knock off the speed I did a repeat of last Tuesday's workout, where I max the TM at 6 minute pace for the middle six miles. In my defense, my calf felt much better (its amazing how quickly it recovers from day to day) and I told myself I would slow it down on the slightest indication of discomfort. I didn't have nearly as much pain, mental or physical, as I did last Tuesday and I sailed through the workout. Well, sailing isn't the best term for running that distance on the TM, where even at that pace the miles just crawl toward the end. I kept happy with thoughts of Boston. Time was 78:12.

Currently in the teens with a "wind advisory." Running will be fun tomorrow morning.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Yer Blues

Had that Beatles song in my head when finishing the run. Hard to get up today, the calf ache now has its alert upgraded to Orange, etc. I think Orange means that my training is changed due to the ache. I'm going to continue with mileage this week but forego any speed or extra effort in my workouts. That will also give me somewhat of a taper to Cesar Rodney.

Warmer day today, ran the Art Musuem loop up to 54th St. 67:58 was a bit faster today, but still conversational pace. E ran as well.

My writing muscle feels a bit strained today, so I'll leave it with an easy workout.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Race that Wasn't

Decided yesterday not to run the NERRC Winter 10k this morning, and went to church instead. The knot in my calf was really tight this morning, reaffirming my decision not to run and I messaged it during mass, which helped a bit.

My route from St. Vincent's to home goes down Kelly Drive past Lloyd Hall, where the race was staged. I figured that if I left right after mass I should make it before they pass out the schwag and catch some friends I knew would be in the race.

Run was slow through Germantown and sped up a little when I got to the Wissahickon and the calf stretched out a little. I didn't check my watch but I had to be hitting 7:15's by the time I got onto Kelly Drive. My timing was pretty much as planned and I managed to catch a bit of the post-race social scene. That's the main redeeming feature of the Winter 10k, that you get to see folks you haven't seen all winter. This included a couple of folks from the Bryn Mawr club, JJ & EP dropped by, as did AH. KF finished third and TK ran as well. I hung out for about 15 and then continued my run home.

Looking at the finish times, it would have been fun to run it. Finishing time was 35 something and there were two 36 minute finishing times. I could have been in the middle of that pack, perhaps won it. Like Bob Glover once wrote, some of my best races were those I never ran.

81 miles this week.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

20 Miler #2

Starting at the Art Museum up Kelly Drive to the Wissahickon Trail to Forbidden Dr. past Valley Green to just before the covered bridge and then back. 2:32:32 for 20.5 miles, with the last 4 at marathon pace in 24:07.

Was supposed to run with IC but he bagged, but I went to our meeting spot and hooked up with three other 8:15 regulars. SG & RD went about four with me before peeling off, and SK ran 15 with me before I started shifting to MP. I was happy to have company, and me and SK chatted most of the way up and then ran back in a comfortable silence until we split. There was beautiful winter scenery along the Wissahickon and up Forbidden Drive, where everything was still blanketed with snow and it was hard to imagine still being in the city. The footing was a bit slick on FD as much of it was packed down snow, but it was manageable.

Back to the Art Museum the timing of my run worked so that I finished a little bit after the 9:30 folks got done. Thus I got to catch up with some folks whom I hadn't seen much of this year. Philly Runners got over 20 folks signed up to run Cesar Rodney next weekend. That really impresses me, and should make going down to Wilmington alot of fun. Sofar five of us are running Boston: me, IC, SK, KF and MW, who I just met today. I'm sure there will be more from Bryn Mawr as well.

Finally, out of curiousity I looked at some old 20 mile times, esp. for the one time that I ran this out and back in 2002. To my surprise I actually ran them a little faster in previous years, even w/ the MP miles I did today. I'm a bit surprised and a bit bothered by it, I thought that I'd just naturally be running them at a faster pace. Should I be worried about it? I don't know. It's questions like those that coaching can help with. Speaking of that, I signed up with Greg McMillan for coaching for a quarter. I'll write more about that as it develops.

Anyway, my training remains in good shape. I'm not going to run the NERR 10k tomorrow, as there is no point in doing so. If I run home from church as I plan to, I'll have 80+ miles for the week.

USP Triathlon - epilogue

Got an email yesterday from the guy directing the USP Triathlon (see previous post). Turns out that an arithmetic error was made in the scoring and I was the winner after all.

I suppose that means I can now retire from my tri career undefeated.

Looking back, I shouldn't have won this.

Friday, March 04, 2005

USP Triathlon

This was an event sponsored by the Athletic Recreation Center (ARC) of my employer, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. It consists of an 800m swim, 5 miles on a stationary bike, and 2 miles either around the indoor track or on a treadmill, with a 10-15 minute break in between events. The whole event is done inside the ARC and is in time trial format, meaning you schedule a time sometime during the course of this week to run the event individually with an ARC staff person supervising. I scheduled for today (Friday) to be one of the last to do it.

I entered somewhat ambivalently, but for two main reasons. First, I think participatory sports events like these are important for the university community, and insofar as my humble participation promotes this, I’m happy to oblige. The other reason was the hubris of seeing if I can whup on the undergrads, who are now literally half my age. The latter particularly intrigued me because, while I knew I had the running down, I had never before swam nor ridden any kind of bicycle for time. I had meant to practice some in the past weeks but, not surprisingly, did not get around to it.

I started with the event I was most uncomfortable with. Six laps in the pool, and I went out too fast, realized how winded I was and then focused on more efficient strokes for the remainder of the time. Efficiency here was somewhat of a joke as I kept my head above water the whole time and had no idea how to turn. Time for this leg was 5:36 (time to beat was about 4:45).

Stationary bike was next. Again, no idea what setting to put it on or what position was best to pedal from. Just started cranking and was quickly winded but kept going. Gluteous and quad muscles started burning by about mile 3 and I just kept pedaling through the damn thing. Finished this in 8:14, again about 45 seconds off the best time.

Since I was among the last participants I could look at the previous times and calculate that I needed to run the 2 miles in under 11:10 to win. Here’s the dilemma. The fastest the treadmill goes is 10 mph (6 minute mile), which would give me second place. Winning thus meant running 2 miles on the indoor track at a 5:35 pace – eminently doable for me, but requires making very sharp curves that put undue pressure on the inside leg, and particularly on knees already susceptible to IT band problems. Blowing away the competition might mean blowing out a knee.

What to do, what to do? Sun Tzu whispering in one ear to choose my battles wisely, Pre screaming in the other ear not to sacrifice “the gift”. Nigel Tuffnell was in there somewhere as well, saying all I had to do was turn the treadmill up to 11. Back and forth. Then I thought about the Cesar Rodney race and about Boston, and decided to abide by the constraints of technology and run the treadmill.

Looking back it was the right decision. It strikes me as egotistical to think I could just take up two events out of three and still win. Maybe next time I’ll work a little at them and if I win it will be more satisfying, and more deserved, and more realistic. Or maybe the ARC will get a faster treadmill.


Stepped out of the door at 6 and everything was a few shades lighter blue than the darkness by which I've grown accustomed to being greeted. I met E and there was a Cardinal singing. Apparently I'm not the only one happy about the longer days. This hint that Spring will be here soon was, however, obscured by the temperature, which again necessitated tights.

Ran yet again an Art Museum loop to 54th St., done literally at a conversational pace as we were yapping the whole way. We spontaneously picked up the pace cruising the last four blocks down Larchwood, leading me to wonder why we didn't run this pace for the whole loop. Time was a sluggish 70.19.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Comfort Clothes

The term "comfort food" seems to be firmly entrenched in the American vernacular these days, and I'm sure I'm not the first to extend that concept to clothing. I do, however, credit that idea with getting me out of the door this morning. I woke up this morning knowing it was cold and listening to the house rattle from the wind. This led to a mighty battle with myself over whether to do my morning 4-miler, and a truce was signed with the concession that I could overdress. I'm usually careful not to overdress, but this morning the tights, hooded sweatshirt, gloves and a hat became my armor, impenetrable to the cold. Of course it wasn't as cold as I thought and I could have done with lighter attire, but this time it didn't matter - it got me out the door. Ran to Franklin Field and looped around to 49th St, 4 miles in a quick 32:26. My legs felt great. The knot I had in my calf is 99% gone. I was literally hobbling yesterday during lunch and by the time work was over I could hardly feel it. I will credit water, orange juice and bananas for that.

Noontime run was the usual Sweetbriar loop with JH. JH is hanging better with me and I'm "rewarding" that by picking up the pace, esp. at the end. The cold was managable (I was back to shorts) but the wind was fierce. Nonetheless we cut over two minutes off of last week's time as we finished in 62:33.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Obligation Fulfilled

Cold, windy, icy, miserable morning to run. E & J were both out as well, and although they were good company I was happy when the run was over. 8-mile Art Museum loop out to 54th St. Time was 72.33, blah. Did I say it was a miserable morning to run.

That knot in my right calf that was retied on yesterdays workout definitely came out on the run this morning. I did learn that OJ was a high source of potassium, so I've been drinking lots of that this morning to help loosen the knot up.

The best idea of the day was when E said that anyone buying a basketball jersey should be required to pass some type of fitness test. That would go a long way towards reducing obesity.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mental Workout

I'm surprised that there isn't a workout approach designed to develop mental toughness. Just like speed workouts, tempo workouts, LSD's all target specific aspects of running, there should be workouts that simulate all the hell that the mind goes through in race conditions without having to go through the accompanying physical hell.

If such a workout is developed, I think it would be on the treadmill. I also think I may have come close to such a workout this afternoon. It snowed yesterday and the streets were unrunnable this morning. I usually work out during lunch on Tuesday but two poorly timed meetings precluded that. So I had 3-5 this afternoon, to get in my desired 12 mile workout, and substituted 6 marathon pace miles for the tempo miles I had planned to do (treadmill isn't fast enough to go tempo). Warmup to the accompaniment of JoJo Hermann on the iPod, steadily cranking up the pace to make an incremental transition to MP (and Chris Knight's Pretty Good Guy on the iPod) at 3 miles. At the end of my first MP mile I knew I was going to have a tough time. The legs were doing alright but the head wasn't. Just went through alot of anxiety-type crud, unsure of whether I could hang on to MP for six, the hundredths of a mile just crawling past, and in retrospect a poor choice of music as the album is a collection of songs about ordinary guys facing very tough situations, not really stuff I wanted to be listening to at that time. The treadmill became like a bull, on which I had to hang on and ride until the alotted time was over.

I hung on. Felt like I was bottoming out during the third MP mile, when I had some under my belt but still seemed to be eons from being done. After that it got easier as the amount to go got less and I got more confident I could finish. Then a leg cramp (right calf again) at 5.5 miles of MP left me with a dilemma of whether to cut it short. But by that time anything short of doing the planned upon 6 would have felt like defeat, like the bull threw me off. So I ran through it. As a reward I now have a big old knot in that calf. . . again. Relief was slowing that infernal machine down from 10 to 7.5, but then it took another forever to finish the 3 mile cooldown.

So just like legs feel during a set of 400 meter reps was how my head felt this afternoon. Does that mean I'm developing mental muscles (would that make me a musclehead?)? Will I be able to hang better on Sunday's 10k? Tune in and find out.

The problem with this workout was that while mentally it may have reaped benefits, it also kicked my ass physically as I've been hobbling around since then. Need to find a workout that can do the former without the latter. When I find that I'll start my own coaching business. Or someone reading this will steal the idea before I can act on it.

Anyway, new month. March is typically a workhorse month, getting in those long runs and harder workouts to set up for the taper into Boston. Last year's monthly mileage was 280, so I'll set that as my goal, 300 as my reach goal, and 250 as my fallback goal.